PIKEVILLE, KY – Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has received three handheld ultrasound devices, thanks to a grant from the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, a division of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.  One of the new handheld devices will be utilized in the PMC Emergency Department (ED) and the other two in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In both departments, time can be of the utmost importance when diagnosing and treating critically ill patients.  Having these handheld devices readily available at the bedside can give physicians nearly instant results.

“The PMC ED serves as the first line of aid in a health crisis or trauma situation,” explained PMC Director of Emergency Services Dale Morton.  “Our physicians can carry this ultrasound device in their pockets, giving them the opportunity to see images of a patient’s lungs, heart or abdomen more quickly than with a traditional ultrasound machine.”

Morton also explained that the handheld ultrasound devices are less frightening for children being treated in the PMC Emergency Department, adding that these new pieces of equipment will be good for the transition to the new ED Pediatric Wing currently under construction.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at an all-time high infection rate in Eastern Kentucky, keeping infected patients isolated is a top priority.  The new handheld ultrasound devices can be used by physicians at the bedside, in many cases eliminating the need to transport the patient to another area of the hospital.  In addition, cleaning the handheld ultrasound devices can be done in a matter of seconds, enabling it to be used to examine another patient much more quickly.

Two of the handheld ultrasound devices will be used in the Intensive and Critical Care Units, adding another tool for physicians to diagnose and treat PMC’s most critically ill patients.

“In the ICU, we quickly move from patient to patient, and being able to have an ultrasound unit readily available and in our pocket is crucial,” said PMC Critical Care Physician Hazim Bukamur, MD.

The funds to purchase the new handheld ultrasound devices were provided by a grant through the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP).   This program helps to prepare health care facilities like PMC to save lives through the development of regional health care coalitions (HCC).

“Anytime we are able to fund equipment that has the potential to save lives, we consider that a win for everyone,” explained Gina M. Porter, Region 8 Healthcare Coalition Coordinator.

The Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (Region 8) serves Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Wolfe counties.